Talking My Book

Mike Drak  |  Apr 4, 2024

I’M TURNING 70 THIS year, and that’s got me thinking about the legacy I’ll leave behind. Legacy for me involves much more than bequeathing money to the kids. It’s about the contribution I’ve been able to make and the people I’ve helped along the way.
Since retiring, I’ve been on a mission to help folks have a better retirement. This resulted in me co-authoring three books on the subject. In addition to my family,

Read More

Time to Stop

David Gartland  |  Apr 1, 2024

MY WIFE AND I ARE different in many ways. This is good and bad. The good part: I get to see both sides of any issue we discuss. This includes our retirement.
Toward the end of 2020, we stopped working within three months of each other. We were both eligible for Social Security and Medicare, so those two key ingredients of a successful retirement were there for us. But we have different visions of retirement.

Read More

I Had the Dream

Jeffrey K. Actor  |  Mar 29, 2024

I RECENTLY SHIFTED from part-time work to complete retirement. I closed my laboratory, published my final research findings, and handed over my teaching duties to a bright-eyed, newly minted assistant professor.
After I cut the career cord, my retired friends cautioned me that I’d likely experience a multifaceted, work-related dream, similar to those described by Andrew Forsythe in a recent article. They just didn’t tell me it might be a nightmare.
Sure enough, a few nights after retiring,

Read More

Road Less Traveled

Ken Begley  |  Mar 26, 2024

I HAVE A SIDELINE writing stories for a local newspaper. Every now and then, even in a small rural community, you’ll find folks who blow your mind. One such individual is a retiree named Junius R. Tate, who goes by J.R. and who spent his youth in Washington County, Kentucky.
Tate hiked the Appalachian Trail, which crosses 14 states from Georgia to Maine and is roughly 2,200 miles long. It takes a determined hiker about six months to complete.

Read More

Losing Benefits

Richard Connor  |  Mar 25, 2024

SOCIAL SECURITY retirement benefits are a critical source of income for many seniors. But as I’ve discovered from preparing tax returns, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding two key issues.
The first issue: the reduction in benefits that occurs when folks claim benefits before their full retirement age (FRA) of 66 or 67, but continue to work. This is the so-called earnings test. If folks are under their FRA for the full year, the Social Security Administration will reduce their benefits by $1 for every $2 earned above $22,320,

Read More

A Quiet Life

Kristine Hayes  |  Mar 23, 2024

IT’S CLEAR LIFE experiences shape how we behave. But what role does temperament—the innate personality traits embedded in our DNA—play in how we navigate our personal and financial lives?
I began exploring my personality in my mid-40s. Amid a midlife crisis, I wanted to better understand why I act the way I do. I was recently divorced, living alone for the first time and determined to do some in-depth self-reflection.
I was aware my personality was the result of both inborn and environmental influences.

Read More

Retiring on My Terms

Richard Quinn  |  Mar 4, 2024

I OFTEN READ ABOUT the difficulties people face after retiring—difficulties that have nothing to do with money. Loss of identity, depression and boredom are all mentioned. It takes serious planning beyond finances to retire, we’re told.

As an employee, I was a type-A personality. I worked seven days a week, in and out of the office. I worked on vacations. My job required me to work with the organization’s most senior executives.

If there was anyone set for a fall upon retiring,

Read More

Making It Easy

Dennis Friedman  |  Mar 1, 2024

ONE OF MY BIGGEST retirement surprises: how difficult it is to maintain a robust social network.
My wife and I decided last Thanksgiving to travel overseas. In the past, we would have spent the holiday with family and friends. But now, most are no longer near us—or with us.
My mother passed away about four years ago. Afterward, my sister and brother-in-law moved to Tennessee to be closer to their son. My cousin Barb and her husband moved to Florida to be near their daughter.

Read More

Our Freshman Year

Tom Short  |  Feb 12, 2024

LAST YEAR WAS OUR first full year living solely off our portfolio, with no paycheck coming in.
How did it go? It was a vast improvement from 2022, when we not only retired, but also got hit with high inflation, tumbling bond prices and a sharp stock market decline. We were looking at sequence-of-return risk—that perfect storm of rising living costs and a shrinking portfolio that can derail those early in retirement—and I can recall feeling a bit panicked.

Read More

Rookie Year

David Powell  |  Feb 7, 2024

FANS OF PROFESSIONAL sports know the excitement and agony of watching each year’s fresh crop of rookies. These young players have to relearn a game they thought they knew.
The fact is, the strategies, tactics, intensity and winning habits of big league sports teams are tougher than those of college and minor league teams. That can leave rookies wondering what hit them when they move up to the big leagues.
That’s how I felt in December 2022,

Read More

Things I’ve Picked Up

Nicholas Clements  |  Jan 31, 2024

IT’S BEEN MORE THAN 10 years since my retirement journey began at age 52. For almost 30 years, I’d worked hard, especially the last two decades, when my twin brother and I owned a landscaping company. Vacations were few and far between, and even on vacation I was always on call.
I was burned out and ready for a new chapter. Going into retirement, I was well-prepared financially. But how I’d fill my days was something of a mystery.

Read More

Some Friendly Advice

Dan McDermott  |  Jan 19, 2024

MY COLLEGE BUDDY Joe really looked forward to retirement. But in the weeks and months following his last day of work, he began to realize he didn’t have a core group of friends with whom to share his newfound freedom. Those he counted as friends were simply friendly workplace acquaintances. And several people who he thought might become deeper friends were still busy working and couldn’t “come out to play.”
So, after retiring two years ago,

Read More

My Five Lessons

Joe Kesler  |  Jan 15, 2024

FOR MOST OF MY LIFE, I didn’t plan to retire. Probably reflecting the influence of religion, I’ve long thought we were put here to spend our time working in the productive service of others.
This was reinforced by my experience as a manager early in my career. I often had to oversee folks in their 50s and 60s who were no longer engaged in their career and yearned to retire. I never wanted to become like them.

Read More

More Than Money

Sundar Mohan Rao  |  Jan 3, 2024

I WAS FASCINATED with retirement planning during the final decade of my career. I read many financial books and focused on saving diligently. Yet, after retiring several months ago following a 39-year career as a research and development engineer, I had a rude awakening.
You can plan all you want, but then comes an unexpected situation that derails everything. As boxer Mike Tyson famously said, “Everybody has plans until they get hit for the first time.”
In the brief time I’ve been retired,

Read More

An Annuity Instead?

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 29, 2023

IN A RECENT ONLINE discussion, I compared the benefits of an immediate-fixed annuity with the 4% retirement-income rule. The 4% rule suggests that investors can withdraw 4% from a well-balanced investment portfolio in the first year of retirement, and then add annual inflation adjustments without fear of running out of money over a 30-year retirement.
Using the NewRetirement annuity calculator, I found that a 65-year-old man could purchase an immediate annuity for $1 million,

Read More